Taiwan angered by US criticism of UN referendum plans (Roundup)
Aug 28, 2007, 10:11 GMT
Taipei – Taiwan on Tuesday expressed regret over US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte’s criticism of the island’s planned referendum seeking UN membership.
‘We regret Negroponte’s remark and think this is a misinterpretation (of Taiwan’s UN referendum),’ Taiwan press quoted Foreign Minister James Huang as saying.
‘The referendum is the most democratic and most peaceful way to express our wish to join the UN. We cannot understand Negroponte’s remark,’ he said.
In an interview with Hong Hong’s Phoenix Satellite TV on Monday, Negroponte criticized Taiwan’s plan to hold a referendum in 2008 on whether it should seek to rejoin the UN.
The US is firmly opposed to it because Washington sees it as Taiwan’s first step towards declaring independence and altering the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, Phoenix TV quoted him as saying.
Negroponte urged Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian to honour his inauguration pledge that he would not seek independence during his term, and take a responsible attitude in promoting Taiwan’s democracy and economy.
David Wang, spokesman of Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, refuted Negroponte’s remarks, saying the UN referendum has nothing to do with Taiwan’s desire to change its status.
‘It has nothing to do with changing our national title or status quo. Nor is it anything provocative,’ Wang said in a news conference in Taipei.
He said the referendum is just a way for people to express what they like or not and should not be misread as the first step to declaring independence.
Negroponte’s remark is the strongest warning US officials have made so far against Taiwan’s upcoming UN referendum. The US has warned Taiwan and China against unilaterally changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and raising cross-Strait tensions.
President Chen wants to hold a referendum on joining the UN when Taiwan holds its presidential election in March 2008.
Chen claims that holding the referendum can unite Taiwan people and promote consensus on the UN issue, but China sees its as Taiwan’s plot to seek independence.
The referendum will be particularly sensitive to China because it will ask Taiwanese if the island should apply for UN seat under the name of ‘Taiwan.’
Taiwan’s formal title is the Republic of China, the name of the government which lost mainland China to the Communists and moved to Taiwan to set up is government-in-exile in 1949.
China is worried that Taiwan is taking small steps to change its official name from ROC to Taiwan to achieve formal separation from China.
China sees Taiwan as its breakaway province and has warned that it would recover Taiwan by force if Taipei indefinitely delays unification talks or declares independence.
So there you have it: the United States does not support Taiwan independence. It has said it time and again as the Americans no longer have enough resources to spare for Taiwan due to Iraq and they require whatever military that remains to be ready for their future war with Iran. If the Americans decide to destabilise Iran, Taiwan Province is screwed in any potential conflict with China as many pro-Taiwan pundits pointed out.
With that said, China is no longer afraid to use force if Taiwan decides to play stupid and declare independence. After all, China has been spending the last 15 years modernising their armed forces to deal with Taiwan and developing ties with the Americans to finally resolve the Chinese Civil War. It also doesn’t help that Taiwan Province did nothing in their recent trip to Central America but give bribe money to random countries in return for nominal support for a UN seat and against China.